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Though Katie Carew has some abnormal powers, deep down she is just a normal kid. Between school, family, and friends, she deals with many of the issues that your own students face in their everyday lives, and demonstrates exceptional morality and character in doing so. Scroll through the page to find some exercises you can do with your kids to show them how to differentiate right from wrong and how to behave like Katie does.

Friendship | Bullying | Honesty | Jealousy | Responsibility | Respect

 
 
Friendship Back to top
Friendship is a relationship between people who are kind to each other and have fun spending time together.
 
  • In Friends for Never (#14), Katie hates the fact that she is in a different class from Suzanne and Jeremy. They seem preoccupied with their new classmates, and Suzanne especially is not being kind to Katie. Talk about friendships. What is important in a friendship? How can people stay friends when they are in separate classes? What are some kind things your kids do for their friends?
  • Mrs. Derkman tells Katie that she owes Katie and Pepper an apology for believing Pepper was ruining her garden in Doggone It! (#8). Examine the importance of apologizing. Why is it important to apologize? What was the hardest apology you ever had to make? Did saying you were sorry help things get better? How do you feel when someone apologizes to you?
  • One of the biggest ways to show that you are a good friend is to help others. Katie and her friends help out at the local homeless shelter in A Katie Kazoo Christmas (Super Super Special). Is there a local shelter where you could help? Another great way to give back to others is through this Charity Read-a-thon. Not only will you raise money for a great cause, but you'll get to read tons of cool books!
Bullying Back to top
Bullying is being mean to others, and a bully is someone who is mean to others more than once.
  • Is there a bully in the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo books? If so, who do you think it is? Is George being a bully in Anyone But Me (#1)? How does Katie's opinion of George change throughout the first book? Have you ever encountered a bully? What did you say or do to make that person leave you alone? Who should you tell if you are being bullied or you see bullying?
  • In It's Snow Joke! (#22), Suzanne asks Katie if she's a chicken, and in Camp Rules! (Super Special), Alicia calls Katie a goody-goody. Why do people call each other names? Have you ever called someone else a name? Why? How does it feel when someone calls you a name? Discuss the difference between calling someone a name maliciously and giving someone a nickname, like Katie Kazoo.
Honesty Back to top
Honesty means telling the truth.
  • In No Messin' with My Lesson (#11), Suzanne advises her classmates to be honest. But, as Katie notices:

    "The kids were taking Suzanne's advice too seriously. Sometimes the truth hurt...There's a difference between being honest, and being mean."

    —From No Messin' with My Lesson

    What is the difference between being honest and being mean? When is it okay to hold back the truth a little? Does anyone have an example of a time they thought they were being honest but ended up being mean?

  • In Oh, Baby! (#3), the third graders all think Suzanne is lying because they don't believe baby Heather can talk (they're right about that!). Why is Suzanne so hurt when the students call her a liar? Why does Katie always say she cannot tell anyone about her switcheroos, even though she feels bad lying to her friends? Do you think it is right of her to keep her ability a secret?
  • When the fourth grade environmental project becomes a competition between classes 4A and 4B in Be Nice to Mice! (#20), everyone wants to win. Suzanne gets her classmates to train and exercise so they'll be strong and fast when they go into the field to pick up garbage. But George and Kevin have another plan for winning: they're going to bring their own garbage to the field, so their class will have more filled trash bags. In other words, they are going to cheat. Why is cheating dishonest? Why is it an unfair way to win a competition?
Jealousy Back to top
When we act jealous, we're resenting someone else's good fortune and hoping to have that success ourselves.
  • Actress Rosie Moran's visit to Cherrydale in Quiet on the Set! (#10) has everyone excited, and even a little jealous.

    "I love the outfit you're wearing... I think that's probably the most fashionable thing anyone has ever worn at Cherrydale Elementary School," Mrs. Derkman gushed.

    "Suzanne let out a tiny gasp."

    —From Quiet on the Set

    Most of us feel jealous every now and then. Think about the times you've been jealous, either of someone famous or of someone you know. Why were you jealous? How did you get over your feelings of jealousy? Do you think anyone is ever jealous of you and your accomplishments?

  • A well-known saying tells us not to judge another person until we've "walked a mile in their shoes." What does this mean? Over the course of the series, Katie gets to walk in many people's shoes. She even gets to walk in a couple of animals' paws! How does Katie feel about this ability? How would you feel if you were Katie? Have you ever wanted to be somebody else? Who, and why? Have you ever been jealous of another person only to learn that they weren't as lucky as you thought?

Responsibility Back to top
Responsibility is knowing when you are in charge of doing something.
  • In I Hate Rules! (#5), Katie learns the hard way what it means to be responsible. When she declares, as Mr. Kane, that there will be no more rules, the school turns into a zoo! Even worse, her classmates start playing soccer with their hands! Discuss the consequences of Katie's actions. Why do we have rules in school? In our families? In our communities? Which rules do you think are fair? Which do you think are unfair? What might happen if we didn't have as many rules in our lives?

  • After Katie has switcherooed into another person and messed up what that person was trying to do, she always feels horrible and tries to help them fix what has gone wrong. This is called taking responsibility for her actions, and it's very important. Name three examples from the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series of when Katie was able to fix her mistakes. How did the person feel after everything was fixed? Can you name a time when you took responsibility for your actions? How did you feel?
Respect Back to top
Treating somebody with respect is about treating them the best way you can, using all of your manners.
     
  • It's important to treat others with respect, so that they will treat you the same way. When Mr. G. sends in a substitute in Flower Power (#27) and the students in 4A act up, he gets very upset with them. What did the students do that was disrespectful? How should they have acted? How might the story have been different if the students treated Mr. Goodstein with respect?
  • "We're going to clean up the field behind the school," Mr G. finished..."We're helping to protect the squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and mice who live in the field."

    — From Be Nice to Mice!

    We don't only have to be respectful of other people, but of things as well, like our environment. It's important to show respect for our planet and all the species that live on it with us so as not to disrupt the natural balance of life. In Be Nice to Mice! (#20), the fourth-graders do just that by cleaning up the school fields. As a class, grade, or even school, clean up a local field, park, or roadway to show respect for your community.